The Christian and the Old Testament Law
What role does the Old Testament Law play in the lives of Christians? How come we keep some laws and not others? What about the Sabbath?
The following video series does a good job of presenting the differences between the covenants and why some laws might still apply while others don’t. It’s not a simple matter of picking and choosing what we want to keep and ignoring the rest.
I’ll get out of the way and post the videos below. I’ll have a bit more to say afterward.
I appreciate the videos analogy of the rental leases. There are some moral standards that will apply to both because the owner is the same. Some will be different because they were specific to the building being leased.
The video also points out that a cultural application does not make the moral law subjective. The Old Testament included a law about railings for roofs. Christians don’t follow that law, today. Why not? The specifics of that law pertained to the Old Testament, the way specifics about a lease deal with a particular building. The moral standard behind it still applies, however. Why did they put up railings? Because people entertained on their rooftops. Most of our roofs are no longer used for that purposes, but many of our buildings do have balconies. The balconies are given railings for the same reason. We are protecting the well-being of the people who step out onto that balcony.
Where the video becomes vague for me is it’s notion that you can still sign on to the Old Covenant. That gives the wrong impression. However, it does point out that part of the Old Testament law was to look for a new prophet, like Moses, and Moses was God’s instrument in initiation the Old Covenant. That Prophet was Jesus Christ who initiated the New Covenant through His own blood. Thus, the fulfillment of the Old Covenant is recognizing the Messiah and entering into the New Covenant.
The videos lay the idea out, but they don’t get into specifics of which laws apply and which don’t. If some were specific to Israel and the Old Covenant but some are always true because of God’s nature, how do we know which is which? Although it could be logically argued out, that’s not really necessary. The New Covenant does a wonderful job of letting us know which laws still apply. And that brings us back to the Ten Commandments and the New Covenant. Every one of the ten are repeated in the New Testament, with one exception. That exception is the Sabbath which was a covenant with Israel.
Like the railing on the balconies, however, we still recognize the first level moral law behind the law of the Sabbath. For one, man needs to rest. That is still true. Man needs to set aside time to worship God. This is still true. Man needs time to be still and hear from God. This is still true. All the facets of what was behind the Sabbath law are taught in Christian sermons all the time. But we are not taught that one day is above another. We are not taught that it is a sin to light a fire or mow our lawns on a Saturday. Furthermore, as the fulfillment of the law, Christ, in a much deeper sense, is our rest. He is our Sabbath.